(A-Z Challenge, read sequentially from A-Z! [Hint: Click HERE and scroll to the bottom.] Or don’t, that’s fine, too.)

“Field of view?” Rhett asked.

Sag sat on the table, hands holding the metal edge. He blinked and turned his head side to side. “I can’t see anything out of my right peripheral,” Sag responded, his voice hoarse and sleepy.

Rhett nodded and went back to making adjustments into his handheld. Ann watched as Sag sat there blinking sporadically and squinting. ‘Can’t imagine what those feel like,’ she thought looking at Sag’s new eyes. They made bold claims that they felt like the real thing, but she couldn’t imagine that was entirely accurate. Ann could see Rhett’s video he was adjusting. Rhett saw what Sag saw. She couldn’t help thinking how useful that would be going forward. ‘No,’ she chided herself, ‘…he’s not a fucking guinea pig or rat in a hole on a fetch quest, he’s a person.’ She waved away the thought and stood.

“I’ll be back, Rhett,” Ann said as she left without waiting for a response. The small outpost near asteroid 532 Herculina wasn’t a well known one, mostly it was just a pit stop for the miners in route to and from Mars or Jupiter if the orbits were in line enough. Being a throughway was never the intention of the block, or ‘toaster,’ shaped rock slowly making its way through the belt in its century-long orbit around the sun. The asteroid was meant to serve as a training ground for new miners to get some hands on experience with precious metals.

Not only mining, though, Herculina was also one of the few rocks in the belt that had a natural satellite in a shallow orbit. An excellent means of training for would-be miners in the central belt to attempt best practices under physical observation; what was the intention, was most definitely not the result, though.

Ann passed open doors with rooms beyond whose only inhabitants were rows of neatly lined desks. The outpost’s architecture reminded Ann of her elementary school from her childhood, easy to navigate and no stairs in sight. She made her way through the hall of empty rooms to the mess hall where a few lunch or break time laborers, passersby, and local nurse staff were eating. The outpost provided a pretty good wage for those that chose to stay for the long-term, especially for any medical personnel or biologists to keep the feed systems running.

Ann, Jabari, and Sag were none of those kinds of people.

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